From the Pulpit of a Holiness Preacher
An email/newsletter ministry of Richard D. Swift, publishing the sermons of Rev. Reed A. Swift (1899-1973), a holiness preacher
The following sermon was preached in the Free Methodist Churches of (in the respective order) Pomona, California; Martha's Chapel, Louisiana; Phoenix, Mississippi; Liddieville, Columbia, Provencal, and Winnsboro, Louisiana; Mira Loma, California (twice in 1949 and '53; and Summersville, Louisiana (1955 Gen.Assembly). Included with the sermon is a revival announcement in very good condition for a the meeting in Columbia, Louisiana. Dates are May 31-June 12. If June 12 was a Sunday, May 31 was a Tuesday. Thus the revival meeting was in 1949. Robert T. Fisher is listed on the announcement as pastor and song leader. Page 9 of the sermon was written on the back of an envelope with a 6 cent airmail stamp on it and post marked 1949! It has the return address as being 1032 Dudley St, Pomona, California and sent to my grandfather c/o Rev Vought Bradford, Jena, Louisiana.
"Oh Lord, Revive Thy Work"
How many of you read the article in the free methodist paper of March 30, '48 on, "A prescription for a True Revival" by Rev. Earl Habechen? he speaks of R.A. Torrey as saying, "I can give a prescription that will bring a revival to any church or community or any city on earth."
Ist. "Let a few Christians (they need not be many) get thoroughly right with God themselves. This is the prime essential! If this is not done, everything else will come to nothing."- Dr. R.A. Torrey
What does it mean to be thoroughly right with God? It means to be born of the Spirit, made a new creature in Christ Jesus! To have the assurance within, of your adoption into the Heavenly family, then you will walk, talk, look, and act like a Christian. You are a peacemaker and not an agitator or trouble maker when right with God.
You are Sanctified Holy and Wholly if you have been justified very long and walked in the light and continued to please God. You are living in condemnation if you are walking back of light for Holiness or anything else.
You cannot pray effectually for a revival; you cannot fast and carry a burden for souls short of being right in your own heart. You cannot always keep a sweet and even disposition without holiness, nor keep the confidence of the people. You cannot have a revival without people's confidence. You must be sincere, then people will have faith in you even if they persecute you. Just hold steady.
IInd. "Let them bind themselves together in a prayer group to pray for a revival until God opens the heavens and comes down."- Dr. R.A. Torrey
If a few saints are thoroughly right with God they will be of one accord as they assemble in a group to pray. They will not be praying at somebody to straighten them up. That will be taken care of ahead of time if right with God. "If ought against another, be reconciled."
You cannot pray effectually with anyone in whom you donot have confidence. God's Word says, "If two of you agree as touching anything (in prayer) it shall be done." That means something today. [Added:] Prayer groups praying through are needed. Eg.- revival in the Hebredes in 1952- praying three nights per week for six months until revival came.
IIIrd. "Let them put themselves at the disposal of God for Him to use as He sees fit in winning others to Christ. These three things obeyed, will bring a revival to any church or community."- Dr. R.A. Torrey
Nothing is said about the preacher or his preaching at all. Too bad! But a few (2 or 3) humble, pius saints, waiting on God, and obedient to God will bring the revival this church or any other church needs. Have faith in God! Elijah's God still lives today. God's fire still comes down from heaven. "The God who answers by fire, let Him be God." Wait also for Him!
Don't try and lord it over Him or anybody else or God won't get any glory. Humility and obedience are needed.
[A poem, "Ask What Ye Will", by Donna M. Garn was inserted here. Unfortuantely, the poem is lengthy and I could not find it so as to copy and paste here.]
We are all aware that we must have a revival or destruction is certain. World leaders say the end of all things is at hand. God help us! Rev. Edwin H. Hugh, Senior Bishop of the Methodist Church said, "We are on the wrong track. We should be telling the good news of salvation with an emotional stir, which made Methodism famous, rather than an increase in mere intellectualism."
No cold heart ever saw a heven sent revival in answer to their prayers. we are ambassadors in Christ's stead through the Holy Ghost. "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire."- when thoroughly right with God! Glory!
Every worthwhile revival is born of prayer. Wait on God! Get a new hope, courage, and vision! "I would never go to hold a revival in any church if I knew ahead of time that they were not praying for one."- Finney
A lasting revival will never come unless it is prayed down. Are we concerned as we should be over the coldness of the church today? Let us try these prescriptions given by Dr. Torrey and see what will happen here! 1, Thoroughly right with God; 2, Unite in prayer; 3, Obey God's will.
Pray, "Oh God melt our hearts up before you. Use us in some way to lead someone to Christ. Break up our fallow ground."
"Throw out the life line, throw out the life line; Someone is drifting away. Throw out the life line, throw out the life line; Someone is sinking today."
The story is told of a vessel that was sinking off the coast of California. The life-saving crew had done their best to rescue the men from the sinking ship. when they returned the last time, they were exausted and ready to fall. When asked if all were saved, they said, "all but one." Then one man of strength said, "I will go to the rescue if others will help me." His mother embraced him and said, "Son, you are all that I have left. Father went down at sea, and your brother, Will went out to sea a year ago and has not been heard from since." The son said, "Where there is a soul in danger, I must go Mother, as a faithful member of the life-saving crew." Mother said, "Go, then my son." Out, the [life-saving] boat bobbed up and down over the big billows to the wrecked ship. Finally, the boat returned to the shore, and those on shore cried out, "Did you save him?" [The son answered] "Yes, and tell Mother it's brother Will!"
Let's pray until the victory comes. It may mean your boy or girl saved!
Proverbs 29:18- "Where there is no vision, the people perish." As Joshua and Caleb, we need a Vision, Faith, and Courage. They said, "Let us go up at once and possess the,...well able."
1. Despair says, "Lie down."
2. Cowardice, "Turn back."
3. Impatience, "Do something."
4. Presumption, "Go ahead."
5. Trust in God says, "Stand still until you get orders from Him to go forward!"
"Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and uphold me with Thy free spirit; then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted unto Thee."
Freedom is a great drawing power. "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." "Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." Oh Lord, Revive us!
If we have a Heaven sent revival in any place, it will come by men and women, young and old who pray it down! The pastor is largely the key man, but pastor and people together are co-workers. The greatest man of this age will be the man who can turn minister and people back to lives of prayer where God can come and bless His people. [Reader, are you that man or woman?] We need to aquire an appetite for prayer. Pray often. Pray and read God's Word first in the day. Pray in the Spirit. Pray, prompted by the Spirit. Pray Through!
[This concludes the sermon by my grandfather]
Yours for Radical Holiness,
Richard D. Swift
505 Hickory Hills Dr.
Dexter, MO 63841